Artificial Light

Last Updated: December 28, 2020

Definition - What does Artificial Light mean?

Artificial light, as opposed to natural light, refers to any light source that is produced by electrical means. Artificial lighting has many different applications and is used both in-home and commercially. Artificial lights are available in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors of light emitted, and levels of brightness. The use of artificial lighting is crucial in agriculture and gardening, particularly in indoor cultivation.

MaximumYield explains Artificial Light

There are several different types of artificial light sources. Some of these sources are incandescent bulbs, halogen lamps, metal halide, fluorescent tube, compact florescent light, and LEDs. All lights emit energy in the form of photons. Light is absolutely essential to plant growth and vitality as it is a key component in photosynthesis.

Different types of plants, both indoor and outdoor, require different amounts of light. Although sunlight is best for most plants, they can still be successfully grown using only artificial light.

According to Advanced Nutrients, LED grow lights are more efficient to plants because they run at cooler temperatures. This stands in contrast to HID systems that can overheat and pose significant risks to crops. Other types of indoor grow lights include metal halide, halogen lamps, incandescent bulbs, compact florescent lights, and fluorescent tubes.

Artificial lights, when used as grow lights, can be used to help in both in-home and commercial plant growth. Artificial lights can provide supplemental light to some plants, or can be used as the only light source available. Some growing methods, like hydroponics, almost exclusively rely on artificial lighting, particularly in large-scale, indoor commercial operations.

When working with grow lights, it is important to determine the plant’s exposure needs in advance. For example, according to Aggie Horticulture, flowering plants absolutely need infrared light to thrive. The majority of plants also need red and blue lights for the process of photosynthesis.

Another aspect of lighting that should be noted is the intensity of light. This is determined by the wattage of the bulb and how close the plant will be to the source of light. Aggie Horticulture also states that foliage plants develop best when exposed to white and cool fluorescent lights. Blooming plants, on the other hand, may require some extra exposure to infrared lamps.

Care should be taken when deciding on the amount of lights to expose plants to as all plants have different light intensity needs. Some plants, such are flowering ones, need varying amounts of light and darkness for proper growth. It is recommended to expose long-day plants to at least 18 hours of light per day. On the other hand, 12 hours of daily light exposure is sufficient for shorter-day plants.

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